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Rare treat for backyard stargazers

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posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 12:05 PM
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Now heres something that doesn't happen every day. Beginning on the 22nd March this year, all 5 Planets that are visible to the naked eye from Earth. (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) will share the night sky for an hour or so after sunset each night.

www.jpl.nasa.gov...


Like a busy urban family, planets rarely get together all at once. Later this month, however, the five so-called naked-eye planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - will reunite in the night sky, giving spectators a unique chance to see Earth's closest companions in one easy sitting.


Was going to write some clever goofy comment about this, but its impossible to compete with the camp of that JPL article.




posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 12:13 PM
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Cool. This an opportunity to get the kids interested in the solar system. My oldest has done a model for science, now he can see half of it for real. Telescopes aren't that expensive. Give me an opportunity to get one again. How could the wife complain, "it's not trivial, it's for their education."



posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 02:04 PM
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(g) Get the wife involved in something like helping photograph the planets and stars! That's actually something that takes artistic skill and patience... along with the science.

I know many couples who do that sort of thing.

And there's a whole group of folks who do binocular astronomy... the challenge of seeing what can be observed using only a set of binoculars. And binoculars come in handy for so many things (I've been occasionally tempted by the binoculars that incorporate the digital camera.)



posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 02:14 PM
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Well just going and looking at telescopes is an experience nowadays. Went there the other week for a bit of a look. Some of the amazing things that even entry-level telescopes come with is surprising.

GPS, Automatic location and tracking, database of 60k celestial objects, voice activation, information about each object. Absolutely incredible stuff. Kinda takes the challenge out of it a little though



posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 02:22 PM
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This is great timing for me; I just ordered an inexpensive telescope that should be delivered on the 22nd. What a good way to break it in. We make a family affair out of stargazing and skywatching. Last night was a warm clear evening so my wife and I went out into the backyard see the Internation Space Station, a Lacrosse satellite, and a couple of rocket bodies.

This planets event will be worth making a special trip out to somewhere really dark for best viewing.



posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 03:33 PM
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Originally posted by intrepid
Cool. This an opportunity to get the kids interested in the solar system. My oldest has done a model for science, now he can see half of it for real. Telescopes aren't that expensive. Give me an opportunity to get one again. How could the wife complain, "it's not trivial, it's for their education."


It would be far more educational for you to BUILD a telescope with your kids.

HOMEMADE SCOPES

MORE HOMEMADE SCOPE STUFF

HOME MADE SCOPE FAQ

COPY SCOPE 1

COPY SCOPE 2



posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 03:35 PM
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anybody watch this guy's shorts?
He is the man.




Remember, Keep looking up!



posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 04:08 PM
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Originally posted by groingrinder...It would be far more educational for you to BUILD a telescope with your kids...


Firstly, very many thanx for this reminder Kano!!


groingrinder - thanx for the links - very interesting stuff - and a great idea too!


I once ground an 8.5" F9.6 newtonian reflector pyrex mirror (with a friend ) and found it fascinating - surprising hard work too!!


The real challenge, however (for Dave and I), was testing and polishing the mirror to an acceptable accuracy. We used the Foucault test and found it extremely difficult to see the shadows on the mirror (the grinding/ polishing took place in a single garage - on a perforated oil-drum) and the testing in the kitchen (the pitch lap was produced in the garge incidentally, using a Primus stove - NOT the wife's cooker!!
)

So, there was a lot of "to'ing and fro'ing" between the kitchen/ garge as adjustemnets were made.

However, the "first light" experiments - conducted by wetting the mirror surface and looking at the Moon - were incredible - essentailly, we propped the mirror up (carefully!) and viwed the image off-axis with a low-powered eyepiece (a 40mm fl). Although we didn't pretend to be precision opticians (we estimated the mirror was 1/4 wave accurate) the feeling of "self-satisfaction" was wonderful!!

I now use a Celestron 8.5" SCT but the memory of the home made telescope "adventure" still lingers!!


I've always fancied making a spectro-helioscope.... Hmm, now *there's a retirement project....



posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 07:52 PM
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Kano, I have been watching and waiting for this event, I brought my travel scope up to the mountains where I am working in anticipation of it. This is gonna be cool!

Genya, 1/4 wave is respectable. good job!

groingrinder is right, they make an excellent project, there is nothing like the satisfaction of building your own!

A link to where I found the plans for my first scope years ago.

Once upon a time, I had my own mirror lab, complete with a mirror-o-matic grinder and Foucault testing bench. I was a wee bit obsessive for a while there.. LOL

If anyone would like to build a scope and doesn't know where to start, feel free to U2U and I'd be happy to offer a hand.

Peace,
BG



[Edited on 19-3-2004 by beergoggles]



posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 10:32 AM
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Damnit! See THIS is why I need a Dobsonian, Skyquest XT8 telescope.



posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 12:07 PM
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I saw all 5 last night. Hopefully the weather stays clear so I can see them again. No telescope needed, but I got a homemade 4"(mirror) Newton style one, I believe, that sees plenty.



posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 12:19 PM
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With a little help from the "Starry Night" software I, too, was able to find all five planets last night. 10x50 binoculars were all that was needed to get a good look, but experimenting with the optical/digital zoom and nightvision on my camcorder yeilded great results. I can hardly wait to get my telescope next week!





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